Microsoft is putting Windows back on ARM based processors, and it looks like the company has learnt its lesson. Announced at the ongoing WinHEC conference in China, the port is a full version of Windows 10; and has a built-in emulator to allow 32-bit x86 programmes run on the ARM architecture.
This is a long step away from Microsoft’s previous attempt with Windows RT. While that particular version of of the operating system wasn’t entirely awful, it failed miserably due to the fact that it could only run specific apps built on the RT API. Naturally, there were very few apps that were compiled that way, which left people with little reason to buy Windows RT devices.
These concerns were addressed by Microsoft in the demo video, which showed Windows 10 running on an unspecified Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. Importantly, it showed the mystery device running Photoshop; because Microsoft is all about content creation these days.
What is interesting is that while Microsoft is bringing the 64-bit version of Windows 10 to ARM devices, the built-in emulator only caters to 32-bit application. Admittedly, there aren’t that many programmes that run strictly on 64-bit machines; but it is a strange omission that may expose a certain technological limitation.
Still, this is likely an indication that Microsoft has new partners lined up for ARM-based devices. Which is a good reason to keep an eye on what tablet manufacturers are up to.